The Cincinnati Cyclones announced today that the team has re-signed defenseman Jalen Smereck for the 2023-24 season. Smereck joins Justin Vaive and becomes the first defensemen that has been signed ahead of this October.
Smereck, 26, returned to North America after spending the 2021-22 season overseas and made an immediate impact with the Cyclones, scoring goals in each of his first two games and compiling 11 goals and 50 points across 53 regular season games. The Detroit, Michigan native also earned a call-up to AHL-San Jose in November; his sixth different stint in the American Hockey League.
"I'm excited to be back," said Smereck. The fans, staff, and everything and everybody around the arena is great. It's a good feeling to have a happy home. I've been moving around a lot since turning pro, so it's just good to be able to go back to the same spot for a second year and have a chip on your shoulder. We want to make it past the second round and we're going for a championship this year."
Smereck not only led the team's defense in scoring during the regular season, but also led the team as a whole during the playoffs with a seven-point outing through 11 games.
"Jalen is an elite defenseman in our league and someone who still has untapped potential," said Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations, Jason Payne. "He came into the pro game at a young age, so even though he's been playing for several seasons, he's still willing to learn, develop, and achieve more than he already has. He was a key part of our core that experienced so much success last year and we're excited for him to be with us again for this upcoming season."
Smereck's first professional game came with Tucson in the AHL as a 20-year-old on an NHL contract with the Arizona Coyotes. He's since skated in 77 AHL games and 240 as a pro, with time spent in the AHL, ECHL, DEL (Germany), and Ukraine. Smereck has amassed 19 goals and 79 assists for 98 points in his 112-game ECHL career.